By R.V. Baugus
Tammy Koolbeck, CVE, shared some final remarks as her most interesting and unprecedented year as chair of IAVM drew to a close. Koolbeck offered her thanks and acknowledged the contributions of many who helped her get through a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the public assembly venue industry. It was now time to hand the chair’s gavel to Rip Rippetoe, CVE, who effectively with the exchange moved from 1st Vice Chair to Chair. Tammy reached out her right hand and deftly handed the gavel to Rip, who took it with his left hand.
What made it such a deft handoff that went smoother than many quarterback-to-running back-handoffs was that the two leaders were on separate screens as IAVM conducted the exchange of the gavel in a virtual webinar. Welcome, Chairman Rippetoe, and THANK YOU, Past Chair Koolbeck. You are both stalwarts of the industry and to be so admired and respected for your leadership in this time of pandemic crisis.
In addition to the gavel exchange, a number of other special recognitions and awards were shared via technology of a screen to view the proceedings. No, it wasn’t Long Beach, and, no, we were not physically in each other’s presence, but the moment of the gavel exchange is always one of the most anticipated events at any VenueConnect, and the session on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 29, was no different.
Indeed, while kudos were being handed out, computer screens lit up on the chat icon as virtual attendees shared their comments and congratulated honorees. It all made you yearn even more to be with IAVM friends to share in the celebration together.
Special thanks goes to Ungerboeck for their sponsorship of VenueConnect20, which in addition to the time-sensitive passing of the gavel during the scheduled time of VenueConnect, will see the reconfigured annual conference take place in a virtual format from October 26-30, details of which will continue to be shared from IAVM.
For this day, though, it was a time to honor, celebrate, and recognize accomplishments, something so very needed when our industry like so many others continues to try and climb out of the hole created by the coronavirus.
Justin Ungerboeck began the proceedings following introductory announcements by IAVM President/CEO Brad Mayne, CVE, by introducing the newest class of the 30 Under 30. IAVM is proud to partner with Ungerboeck, and sincerely thanks them for their support of VenueConnect and the recognition of some of the industry’s up and coming stars.
Koolbeck then congratulated a special group of honorees in Charles A. McElravy Award recipient Rick Haycock, CVE; Joseph J. Anzivino Distinguished Allied Award recipient Bill Powell; and IAVM Foundation Legacy Award honoree Mina Boyd, CVE.
Koolbeck’s Chairman Citation recipients were next to be feted as Zakiya Smith-Dore, MBA, CVP; Jennifer Norris, CVE; Matt Hollander, CVE; and IAVM’s very own Greg Wolfe, were recognized.
As anyone who has served as IAVM Chair knows, the work still goes on back home while the Chair conducts business on behalf of the Association, and it was no different for Koolbeck, who gave thanks to her colleagues back at Iowa State University in Craig Wiebke, Emily Ladewig, and Craig Spillman.
She finished her comments by acknowledging Stefanie Tomlin and Eboni Wilson for their tireless work to help launch the Black Resource Group, an initiative to represent and provide a forum for underserved individuals within the IAVM membership.
Speaking of diversity and inclusive leadership …
Koolbeck’s final remarks about the new group segued nicely into the comments of new Chair Rippetoe, who emphasized that intentional development of initiatives for all underserved and underrepresented groups within the Association will continue to be an emphasis.
Among his other remarks, Rippetoe touched on a variety of topics, beginning with another couple of key words that are integral to his leadership.
“I believe that there are two words that apply more to us now more than ever,” he said. “Those are Purpose and Promise. Nine years ago, I heard the then CEO of Taco Bell, Greg Creed, give a speech to a small group of professionals, including me, about the power of our Purpose and our Promise. He told us that Purpose was why we existed. The Promise was how we delivered on why we existed.
“The Purpose of IAVM is to educate, advocate for, and inspire public assembly venue professionals, worldwide.
The Promise of IAVM is to provide unprecedented member value.”
Rippetoe went on to elaborate deeper on the important topic of diversity and inclusion.
“IAVM values diversity and inclusiveness,” he said. “IAVM provides opportunities to all people who wish to participate in the activities of the association without regard, including but not limited to: age, color, disability, family responsibility, gender, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
“We have included this language in our policies, but now it is time to make sure our programs, policies and procedures are designed to welcome and include ALL our members. The Board is fully engaged with standing against racism and with being pro-reconciling. We will not just celebrate our diversity, but we will champion a sense of belonging within the organization for ALL.
“I am calling on our leaders to take an even more visible presence within the Association and to continue the efforts made over the past year in seeking ways for us to stand together against all forms of bias. They have done great work, but they cannot do it alone. To realize a future where all voices are welcome will take each of us taking intentional action to repeatedly invite perspectives of folks who have traditionally been underserved.”
In closing, Rippetoe shared his personal core values and what they mean. Those include:
Integrity – Keep your promises
Service – If I’m not serving our members, then serve someone who is
Collaboration – Work together for the common good
Courage – This is not the absence of fear, it is us stepping forward appropriately in spite of our fears.
Accountability – Anyone can ask me “why?” If I don’t have an immediate, good answer, I make a different decision.
“This is a time for strong, consistent leadership,” he said. “All of us need to commit to re-educating ourselves on the role of the IAVM to our members. All of your voices are important. I welcome your comments, critiques, ideas, and challenges.”
If you were not able to join us for all the great things that took place in the ceremonial passing of the gavel, don’t fret. To watch the proceedings, simply click here.